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Selling diversity to the board

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My organisation does not currently have a strategy for diversity, awareness amongst managers at all levels is weak and there are in my view a number of associated problems such as attrition and succession planning. I would like to introduce an awareness programme to launch a strategic initiative. Does anyone have any ideas and/or experience of how to sell the benefits to the board?
Iain Reynolds

7 Responses

  1. Evidence
    Before trying to sell this to the board on “benefits” alone. You need to determine if your theory is correct and that your business is suffering for the absence of a diversity strategy.

    That means talking to people and determining if your attrition rates and succession planning have been adversely affected by the absence of such a policy.

    If you can do this you’ll be able to take to the board some actual hard numbers about the financial benefits to them of implementing your policy.

    Because generally it’s hard to sway the board on generic evidence only.

    Actually as most sales people will tell you selling anything on benefits alone – particularly if you haven’t identified and demonstrated that someone has an issue – doesn’t work very often, if at all.

  2. diversity just a new title
    Iain
    Building on Nik’s insights I would suggest you look at the CIPD and ACAS websites and get hold of the IDS Study.
    If you are serious about Diversity not just putting ols wine in new bottles you will sell it as an external factor in relation to markets and communities, If I do not understand your comments about attrition and succession planning then I am certain they will not.
    Peter

  3. What is the business need here? Or HR fad?
    Iain

    Two bits of good advice from the previous contributors.

    My thoughts would be …..

    1) why is this important to your organisation at this time?
    2) Is this the most pressing people challenge you face?

    Diversity is good! But too many HR bods jumped on it as the next “must have” failing to understand their business context or challenges.

    If it really is a problem for your firm then great good luck with doing something about it….but if it is just something that you and your other HR people are keen on then you may not get very far.

    Keith

  4. Celebrating Diversity
    I consider Diversity as a positive, something to celebrate, to mine for its richness, for it’s social and emotional as well as financial benefits.
    If diversity is perceived by the current and potential workforce, not just as a politically correct, optional extra, it can benefit indiviuals, teams and departments by lifting morale. The organisation’s reputation will be enhanced, staff turnover reduced and it’ll all show up on the bottom line.
    At its best, a celebration of diversity will also show itself in supervision sessions, team meetings, appraisal interviews, conflict resolution, coaching and mentoring and inter-personal transactions.

    Certainly, the above underpins all my training, whether or not the training is specifically focused on diversity.

    I would suggest, Iain, that you endeavour to ‘sell’ the principles to the board along with the benefits. And maybe create an experience that enables them to recognise the diversity in their own ranks and how it adds value to their dealings with each other.
    Even if they are all ‘WASPs’, there will almost certainly be differences of some kind – attitudes, assumptions, hobbies, aspirations, verbal skills, confidence, etc.

    MichaelM

  5. Diversity
    We bought in the services of a top class trainer who took our bosses through the hard headed business,demographic and legal arguments underpinned what were for them the moral and historical factors. He also took them through a Cost Benefit Analysis and a benchmarking exercise with other successful companies ££££££ from a customer/staff care and retention perspective. Brilliant!

    Jennifer

    [email protected]

  6. Diversity contact
    Iain,

    I suggest you contact the diversity consultants Schneider-Ross (www.schneider-ross.com), the UK’s leading strategic diversity consultancy. They work with a number of well-known public sector organisations and global corporations.

    Their telephone number is: 01264-882400

    Vivianne Naslund
    http://www.viviannenaslund.com

  7. Diversity training
    See me comment under DDA and training in HR section. The organisation that delivered the training are part of the new Social Inclusion College and it’s founders are business and community psychology consultants. If you look on their website you will be able to find out more about them and perhaps attend a course or two – then you could take the skills, knowldege and understanding back to the workplace. I think they also are open to selling licences for delivering their training to interested parties at a negotiable rate.

    [email protected] OR http://www.socialinclusion2000.co.uk

    Alternatively you could contact me via email and I could pass on some more details.

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